Causes and Factors, Triggering Asthma

No one really knows causes of asthma. What is known for sure is that asthma is a chronic inflammatory airways disorder. Causes of asthma symptoms can be different for different people. One thing remains unchanged: during airway exposure to asthma triggering factors, they become inflamed, narrowed and filled with mucus.

During asthma attack smooth muscle spasm, inflammation and airway mucosa swelling and mucus intense secretion, leads to airways narrowing. This increases bronchial sensitivity and leads to difficulties with breathing, causing dyspnea, cough or whistling sound during breathing. Cough can be caused by bronchi irritation and body’s desire to get rid of accumulated mucus.

So why someone has asthma, and someone does not? Nobody knows for sure. It is known that allergy plays a large role in causing disease at many people, but not at everyone. Along with allergies, one of the factors is family asthma history (genetic component in disease development is great).


If you are predisposed to asthma, it is important to understand what can provoke it. Having determined triggering factor of your disease, you will be able to control it, avoiding contacts with these factors, and reducing thus frequency of attacks. For example, if you find out that asthma attacks are caused by allergens, then you have allergic asthma and will have to «hide» from allergens.

Here are the most common factors that trigger asthma.


Eighty percent of people with asthma are allergic to ingredients present in the air: pollen of plants, trees, grasses, molds, animal hair, house dust, insects. At home, stimuli may be odors detergents or home pests «stains».

Foods and Food Additives that Trigger Asthma

Although food allergens rarely cause asthma, they can trigger severe life-threatening condition. The most common foods associated with allergic reactions include:

  • eggs;
  • milk;
  • peanut;
  • soybean;
  • wheat;
  • fish;
  • shrimps and other shellfish;
  • salad and fresh fruits.
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Food cans are also able to trigger asthma. Sulfite agents such as sodium hydrosulfite, potassium hydrosulfite, sodium pyrosulfite, potassium pyrosulfite and sodium sulfite are often used in food cans and can cause asthma at humans who are predisposed to the disease.

Exercise-Induced Asthma

Intense exercise can result in airways narrowing at 80% of people with asthma. At some people exercise can be a major cause of asthma symptoms. At exercise-induced asthma the following symptoms occur: tightness in the chest, cough, dyspnea during first 5 – 8 minutes of exercise. Usually these symptoms disappear within 20 – 30 minutes of training, but more than in half of these cases second attack occurs in 6 – 10 hours.

Watch the video about Exercise-Induced Asthma below:

Asthma and Heartburn

Asthma and heartburn often go hand in hand. Recent studies have shown that approximately 89% of asthma patients also suffer from heartburn, known as gastroesophageal reflux. Gastroesophageal reflux occurs more often at night when a person is in lying position. Normally, valve between esophagus and stomach prevents reverse release of stomach acid into esophagus. At gastroesophageal reflux valve function is impaired. Reverse release of stomach acid into esophagus appears, if acid enters throat or respiratory tract it leads to asthma attack.

Reflux is one of the most common causes of asthma in adulthood, with no previous allergic history or tendency to bronchitis, hereditary predisposition, difficulties with asthma control or cough in lying position.

Asthma and Smoking

Smokers are more predisposed to asthma. If asthmatic smokes, it can worsen such symptoms as cough or dyspnea. Women who smoke during pregnancy increase risk of wheezing at their children. At children, whose mothers smoked during pregnancy, lung function indicators are worse than at those whose mothers did not smoke. The only way for a smoker in case of asthma – to quit smoking.

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Sinusitis and Other Upper Respiratory Tract Infections

As well as airways mucosa inflammation causes asthma, sinusitis causes sinuses mucosa inflammation. This mucosal inflammation leads to increased mucus secretion. When sinuses are inflamed, airways respond similarly as at people with asthma. Proper sinusitis treatment is necessary to, inter alia, relieve asthma symptoms.

Asthma and Infections

Colds, flu, bronchitis, sinusitis can cause asthma attack. These respiratory infections of viral or bacterial etiology – a common cause of asthma, especially at children younger than 10 years. Increased airways sensitivity and the tendency to contraction may last for two months after recovery from infection. Asthma Inhaler Online ( assumed that 20 to 70% of asthmatic patients are prone to concomitant sinusitis. On the other hand, from 15 to 56% of people with allergic rhinitis (hay fever), or sinusitis are likely to acquire asthma.

Asthma and Medications

Many people with asthma are sensitive to aspirin and possibly also to other anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Alleve, Naprosyn), ketoprofen and beta-blockers (used for heart diseases, high blood pressure and glaucoma). If you are aware of sensitivity to these drugs, make sure that doctor registered this information in your chart. We also recommend you always consult a pharmacist about possible drug side effects.

Other Asthma Causes

Irritants. Many irritants, including tobacco smoke, fire smoke, smoke from burning wood, strong perfume, cleaning products, etc. may be causes that provoke asthma attack. Furthermore, attack may be caused by air pollution, including air working area (production), dust or fumes.

Weather. Cold air, temperature and humidity changes can also trigger asthma.

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Strong emotions. Stress and asthma are always related. Anxiety, crying, screaming, stress, irritation or strong laughter can trigger asthma attack.

How these Factors Provoke Asthma Attack?

At people with asthma airways are always inflamed and very sensitive, so easily react to a variety of external factors. Contact with these factors causes asthma symptoms, mucus blocks airways and result in symptoms worsening. Asthma attack may occur immediately after exposure to provoking factors or after a few days or weeks.


These factors are numerous. Reaction to them is individual for each person and can vary from attack to attack. Certain factors at some people can cause only inflammation, but for others be safe. at some people there may be several asthma causes, at others it is impossible to detect any. Detecting and avoiding contact with asthma trigger, in cases when this is possible, is an important step in controlling asthma. Always remember that the best way to do it – timely treat asthma with anti-inflammatory medications.

How to Understand which Factors Cause Asthma?

Evaluate factors that occur at the time of asthma symptoms appearance. It will be the first step to determining the cause. Despite the fact that reasons are various, you cannot respond to all of them. Some react to only one factor, others – to several.

Many factors can be identified in course gathering anamnesis or while taking skin allergy test during or blood test. Your doctor may also recommend using a device – peak flow meter. Peak flow meter measures speed and amount of air exhaled from lungs. Indicators point to breathing changes and warn of probable attack approach.